Red Bull’s Max Verstappen seized his fifth pole position in a row at the British Grand Prix on Saturday after McLaren’s home hero Lando Norris threatened to pip the runaway Formula One leader to the top slot.
McLaren’s Australian rookie Oscar Piastri qualified third fastest in a big boost for the former champions after a tough start to the campaign, with Charles Leclerc completing the second row for Ferrari.
Verstappen’s teammate and closest title rival Sergio Perez qualified only 16th, the fifth race in a row that the Mexican has failed to reach the top-10 shootout.
Perez is already a huge 81 points behind Verstappen after nine races this season, all won by Red Bull, and faces another salvage operation on Sunday.
Red Bull have won 10 races in a row, including last season’s finale in Abu Dhabi, and are poised to equal McLaren’s all-time record run of 11 set by late great Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in 1988.
Norris looked like he was about to seize pole when he set a time of one minute 26.961 seconds right at the end, only for Verstappen to go quicker with his final stellar effort of 1:26.720.
“It’s always Max. He always ruins everything for everyone,” laughed the 23-year-old Briton, with his good friend Verstappen alongside and enjoying the joke as the 140 000-strong crowd roared.
Verstappen is chasing his sixth win in a row and eighth of the season with a third title already looking an absolute formality.
“It’s great to see both of them up here,” he said of Norris and Piastri, whose team boss Zak Brown was busy high-fiving everyone in sight.
Verstappen had a far from perfect afternoon, even if he said it was ‘very lovely’, with the 25-year-old making an uncharacteristic error when he drove out of the garage and into the pit lane wall at the end of the first phase.
“I just understeered and it didn’t grip,” he said apologetically after being pushed back for a new front wing.
Last year’s winner Carlos Sainz qualified fifth for Ferrari, with the Mercedes pair of George Russell and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, winner a record eight times at Silverstone, sixth and seventh respectively.
Alex Albon qualified a strong eighth for Williams, ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Alpine’s Pierre Gasly completing the top 10.
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